Friday, August 31, 2007

Working man blues on Labor Day weekend

In this day and age, the American working man and woman have very little to be happy about and more uncertainty regarding their future than ever. The holiday itself was created in order to give the working man a day of rest, it is a holiday that finds it’s origins in the unionized labor movement. Now our labor unions are toothless and the cards are stacked against them. The average American worker, who lives and sweats to live the “American Dream” is marginalized and no longer has a voice in government and little power at the bargaining table. Most are left to fend for themselves with no union to represent them.

We start the Labor Day weekend with a continuing war draining our resources and wealth from the public coffers into the bank accounts of the super wealthy who are making a proverbial killing off this war. Gas prices are still outrageously high, grocery shopping is enough to break the bank accounts of many Americans and the low hum of a President begging to nuke Iran still rings in our ears like the Taos hum.

We work longer hours, for less pay, smaller benefits and greater responsibility and workload than ever before. The pie in the sky isn’t sweet and the slices are smaller than our parents had to choose from. predicts there will be over 2 million home foreclosures in 2007, which is 42% higher than all of 2006. Meanwhile, here in my hometown of Atlanta, the purchase of homes valued at over $1 million for just the month of May rose to 97, nearly double the number that were sold just two years ago, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The playing field hasn’t been level in this country for a long time. I don’t begrudge a person who creates wealth nor do I take offense at what they do with their money. On the eve of a national holiday that honors the average American worker, we have to ask ourselves why we as a nation allow this level of disparity and flawed thinking get to this point. The corporations and wealthiest among us have and will fight to maintain the power they have over our government and our lives. They will not give it up and if their power is diminished even slightly, they will not rest until they have gained back as much as they lost and more.

The most simple ways for the average American to fight back are:

1) Simplify your life to reduce the influence they have on your wallet and livelihood.
2) Reject as many corporate owned institutions as is possible.
3) Learn the voting record of your local, state and national leaders. Share what you find with politically minded friends, neighbors and co-workers.
4) NEVER believe what a politician, political operative or a “leader” tells you.
5) Raise a stink when your representative votes against your own best interests. Call, write a letter, send an email. Do anything to let him/her know they sold you out. Be nice though. Lunatic ramblings and rants don’t do you a lot of good.

Enjoy your three day weekend, folks. Take care, watch out for the drunk drivers and put the white clothing away until Memorial Day weekend next year. Think about how you can make YOUR life better, more productive and creative in ways that will mystify the powers that be and limit their control over you.

And above all, if you are traveling by airplane and need to visit the bathroom, beware of pervy Senators looking for a little bit of dick to suck.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Richard Jewel and random memories of the 90's. It's 11 o'clock, do you know where your kooks are?

In many ways, for me at least, much of the 90’s seem to be a slow blur. Moments pop out at me when I look back, many good and many bad. An entire inner-connected series of memories have come back to me over the last two days with the passing of Richard Jewel. Jewel, you may remember, was the security guard at the Atlanta Olympic games whom the FBI attempted to scapegoat after the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

In the summer of ’96 I was living out in the country but still a short drive into Atlanta. I watched those Olympic games and how they affected Atlanta, from afar. On the night of the bombing I was watching TV and followed the news reports closely, switching between the four local news stations and ESPN’s coverage. In the days after the bombing, when Jewel was rightly identified as a hero, I was happy to see what appeared to be a regular Georgia “country boy” making good in the city. That feel good moment was dashed only days later when the feds leaked the information to the news organizations that Jewel was the prime suspect.

One thing you develop as you get older is a prime eye for telling what is real and what is not real when it comes to people. In the case of Jewel, it was obvious the feds were lying. Their MO sounded credible until you looked at the man and how he was holding up to the insane media pressure. I wasn’t the only one who felt he was being railroaded. My co-workers, all of them “country smart” could see that something wasn’t right and that he was innocent. Jewel was eventually cleared and the investigation appeared to have reached a brick wall.

When I first moved to Atlanta we seemed to be the center of a lunatic bomber’s attention. The Olympic Park bombing, the Otherside Lounge bombing, the Sandy Springs abortion clinic bombing were making all of us more than a little uncomfortable with what was happening and where they would strike next. I remember several long lunchtime and water cooler conversations we had about who the killer could be. My pet theory was that we had a crazy redneck that was driving into town to kill Atlantans, but I was certain it was a Georgian.

When the Birmingham bombing killed a police officer and horribly injured a nurse in early ’98 all of the people I knew raised their eyebrows with attention. It was pretty obvious that the nut that was setting off bombs here in town was at work in Birmingham. The only question most of us had was whether or not the bomber lived in west Georgia or east Alabama.

When Eric Rudolph was announced as the prime suspect, all seemed to fall in place. Rudolph could be a poster child of the things that were wrong about us as a people in the 90’s and he was one of the precursor warnings of the type of lunatic fringe American that we would all see post-9/11. In a decade that gave us the Oklahoma City bombing and Eric Rudolph, we had more than enough signs of what we have become. The lunatics who weren’t satisfied with simply firebombing abortion clinics so they moved on to bombing them and killing abortion Doctors are the type of person who maintains the systems of control and power in America today.

I live in a large American city, with an international airport and high visibility facilities such as the CDC and the Federal Reserve. I am not at all worried about Islamic terrorists blowing my ass up. It’s possible but I think I am far more likely to be struck by lightning or win the lottery than to be killed by a terrorist in the city I live. I am, however, still worried about right wing extremists in America. I am, in effect, afraid of my own people. I admit this one day after posting an angrily worded entry regarding fear in America, so I do understand how this can be considered a hypocritical statement.

These extremists have always been here in this country. The south has always been the stereotypical home ground for such lunatics but don’t let that assumption steer you in the wrong direction. At the height of the popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, the largest population of members was not found in the south; Indiana was the state that boasted the highest concentration of Klansmen. Those extremists are not only down here; they are in your town too.

In the 90’s we had the rare opportunity to see these people up close and personal. We saw the militia movements and were able to hear the ideas of extreme nationalism that permeate throughout their communities. We saw the radical Christian identity movement followers who rationalize death and murder by killing abortion providers, homosexuals and non-Christians. We saw the far right anti-government radicals such as Randy Weaver and Eric Rudolph. But we also saw a more open and less afraid government who was willing to go to equally extreme ends with citizens who frightened it.

In the 90’s we had the chance to see our government up close and personal as well. The massacre at Waco, the Ruby Ridge calamity and strangeness surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing all added to a certain mistrust of the government. We instantly forgot all about those events, those radicals and those capabilities when the 9/11 attacks occurred. The faux-patriotism and “pride” in America swept through this nation in a way that was not purely spontaneous. The only genuine responses that we had to the attacks were gone within days of the attacks. Was anyone really acting “changed” when October 11 came around?

The death of Richard Jewel should be our reminder to us of what the government will do to an innocent person and Eric Rudolph should be a reminder that we have lunatics among us that compare unequivocally with the most extreme Middle East elements and are the product of America itself. Greed, hate, mistrust, fear, the lust for power and a narrow worldview are the food of American terrorists.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

America -- 400 million pussies

What a bunch of little scared rabbits we have become. Our grandparents and great-grandparents would be ashamed of us and rightly so. Everything scares us and we haven't a single collective backbone among us. What the fuck is wrong with us?

We are scared to death that someone is up to funny business at the Ikea. We are afraid of our true sexual nature and how people will react, so we lie.. We are afraid of fat men with beards. We are afraid of skinny men with beards.

We are afraid of the government. The government is scared of us. We are scared of our children. Our children are afraid of the Army. We are afraid of the toys we give our children. We are afraid of the food we put in our mouths.

The list goes on and on and on and on.

When did we begin to act this way? Why do we do it? Why do we keep chirping the same old bullshit lies that make us even more afraid? "9/11 changed everything." "We are fighting them over there so we don't fight them here." "Iran will have nookalar (sic) weapons." Fear, fear and more fear. We can't get away from it and we are afraid of white people, black people, brown people, all kinds of people.

We don't need a "leader" as President, we don't need a diplomat as President, we need a drill Sargeant to kick us in the ass, who will curse at us and tell us to act like we have a pair. What a bunch of silly little girls in pigtails we have become.

Why don't we all get pissed off and start demanding more and better of our leaders and ourselves. When someone starts playing the "terrorist" card let's tell them to shove that terrorist up their ass. When the government won't protect us from the truely insane capitalists who poison our food, let's put the fear of losing an election into their hearts. Let's tell the politicians to fix our food supply issues or their ass is fired. To their replacements let's inform them that we fired the last idiot who fucked us over and if they don't toe our line, their ass will be back out in the public sector too.

When you meet a politician in real life, give them a rash of shit for their failures and let them know you are their boss, not the other way around. Never praise a politician to their face, the fuckers are waterheaded attention whores and they aren't used to someone reading them the riot act. If you don't know the voting record for your Senator or Congressman, learn it. Find out where your local representatives stand and if your city councilman is farting around, let them and your politically minded neighbors know.

We all need to stop being so goddamn scared and we need to bitch and moan about how this country is circling the bottom of the bowl. Fear, in the heart of a politician or businessman, is a pissed off citizenry.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fat cat mating call -- "Shut up and give me your money."

I’m looking at a news report that Earthlink is slashing its workforce in half. Over 900 jobs are about to be shed and the concerns that yet another ISP could go by the wayside. Ten years ago you had a choice between using a local mom and pop style ISP, a larger regional ISP or one of the major national/international ISPs. Those days have been gone for quite some time. However, as a person who moved away from the horrible mess that ATT created when they slurped BellSouth into their clutches, I will be pretty much at the mercy of the mega-corporations if Earthlink sells out or is forced to close it’s doors.

This is another of those bad signs of what this nation has become. If Earthlink goes away, one way or the other, my choices are slim. I can go with Comcast, AOL or ATT. That’s about it. I have no other choice than to use Comcast for cable, unless I want to stick one of those stupid dishes on my balcony. I refuse to go back to AOLhell or give ATT a penny more than I have to because they will stick it up my ass with a complete disregard for my privacy.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why a “business friendly” government is bad for its citizens. This is why big business is NOT a good neighbor under any circumstance and this my friends is why the corporate lackeys in Washington, Republican and Democrat, need to be chased back into the private sector, post haste. They have allowed the large corporations to play ball in any way they choose and we, the consumer, are left with fewer choices, higher rates, sloppier service and a complete disregard for what is best for the consumer. The market does not weed out the weak; the market is a bloodbath where only the deepest coffers and least civility survive.

It’s not just the TelCos where this is found. It is the same in the financial sector, the health care sector, manufacturing, it is the same across the board and from what was once a wide variety of choices we are left with whatever they decide to throw at us. 10 years ago I had many choices for even the act of grocery shopping. From the corporate stores I could choose from Publix, Kroger, A&P, Harris Teeter, Winn Dixie, Sav-A-Lot, Cub Foods or Ingals. These stores were all located within 15 minutes of my apartment in Atlanta. Now that same 15-minute radius gives me Publix, Kroger and Wal-Mart.

Those are my only choices for typical grocery stores within that radius and even a small locally owned and operated store is no where to be seen. I shop for most of my groceries at one of the 2 farmer’s markets that I live between. Both are 20 to 25 minutes drives but they are well worth the trip even if it is out of my to get to either store. I would be spending approximately $100 to $150 per month in the corporate stores if I did all my shopping there, but instead I spend between $75 and $100 per month for the same food in those farmer’s markets. The money is much better spent there and it is one of my ways of saying no to big business.

I can’t really do that with Internet access, phone service, banking, health needs or when I need clothing. In the big war being waged against us by the big conglomerates we eventually loose the war but the consumer can win the small battles against their unethical practices.

Sociopath Tuesday! Politicians, athletes and the big toe of Big Brother!

There is simply too much going on right now to pick a single subject. Within the last 24 hours there has been the resignation of AG Alberto Gonzalez, another senior GOP Senator has been thrust into a sex scandal, Michael Vick apologists have been in over drive and there has been a curious media blackout regarding the murder of the former leader of the GOP in Georgia. It’s just too much to digest and sift through in one sitting.

AG Gonzalez, the man who never met a spy program he didn’t love, will be trying to outrun possible perjury charges for lying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Of course the Democrats will capitulate and not seek those charges, nor will they ever seek to bring to justice the liars and un-American bastards who have led our nation into a deep, dark sewer over the past 6 years. Gonzo will head back to Texas with the blessings of his President after a brief tenure as the head of the Justice Department and a history that will show him to have been the most destructive and least protective AG in the history of that cabinet position.

Senator Larry Craig of Idaho once again shows me that maybe the really wild sex fiends are the members of the Republican Party. I have no problem with the homosexual community, gays and lesbians are just regular folks trying to get by and live their lives too, in my eyes. I feel sorry for closeted gays who cannot tell the world how they really feel. However, I have no sympathy or patience for a hypocrite like Craig, who maligns and demonizes the gay community, all the while he is looking for kinky public sex in an airport. If Sen. Craig were to just come out and tell us that he does indeed suck dick and he was wrong for demonizing the gay culture and wrong for repressing his true sexuality, I’ll jump on the man’s bandwagon and back him 100%. Instead we get another bullshit lie that his toilet stance is a bit “wide legged”.

Speaking of lies, Michael Vick, the disgraced former star athlete is now getting the coddling he so desperately wanted all because he finally admits his guilt for torturing animals for the sheer pleasure of it. Hey Vick, I forgive you since you admit that you did it. Now, how about working on atoning for your cruelty and show us some action instead of words on how you will re-enter society as a normal human being. It’s not simply enough to say I’m sorry. You have to do a little more than that. I’m sorry only works when a 5-year-old get’s caught sneaking cookies out of the jar.

It’s was not “immature” what you did to those dogs, as you so innocently described it, it was inhuman, vicious and anti-social. MV7, I hope you realize that psychologists have found a link between children who torture animals and serial killers. Prove to us that you can contribute to society instead of producing more pain and suffering like you did and then we can start talking about you taking snaps again. You have a serious mental condition to not see the torture of animals to be disturbed behavior. To the apologists, leave the man’s dick alone and stop sucking it like it was candy. He fucked up and all the excuses you can muster do not make it all right. It’s not about race and it’s not about the victims being “just dogs” and it’s not about other crimes not being hotly prosecuted by the feds. It is about acceptable behavior in a civilized society. If you find nothing wrong with his actions or still believe in him regardless of what he has confessed to; please seek psychiatric help. You have a serious sociopath condition and need medical attention.

As for the murder of the former head of the Georgia GOP, Raphael Gonzalez, it’s difficult to gauge what did happen and the cause. Gonzalez was murdered along with another man in a 3-person murder suicide down in Orange County Florida. Even the Atlanta media has been tight lipped about this and only trickles of info have come out. What is known is that Gonzalez and the other victim were roommates in a house that was owned by Gonzalez. The killer was a former roommate and Marine, who took his own life after murdering them.

Strange tidings on this Tuesday morning. Sometimes there is too much for your paranoid blogger to fully comprehend and write about. I’m sure my ADD and OCD predisposition do not help.